As the price of oil collapsed in the fourth quarter, billionaire value investor Warren Buffett substantially reduced his exposure to the energy sector, but added to his position in Canada's largest energy company.
Regulatory filings show Mr. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway sold 41 million shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. during the final three months of 2014. The shares were worth nearly $3.9-billion (U.S.) at the end of the third quarter.
In addition, the Oracle of Omaha eliminated his stake in ConocoPhillips Co.
However, Berkshire Hathaway increased its holdings of Suncor Energy Inc. from about 18.5 million shares at the end of September to over 22.35 million shares by year-end. By dollar value, the integrated Canadian giant was Mr. Buffett's largest holding in the sector at the end of 2014 (over $710-million U.S.).
Mr. Buffett's first foray into the Canadian oil patch was announced in August 2013, as regulatory filings indicated that he accumulated 17.8 million shares of Suncor during the second quarter of the year. Since Canadian oil companies receive revenues in U.S. dollars, the decline in the Canadian currency offsets a portion of the adverse effect that lower oil prices have on profits.
Other energy companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway at the end of the fourth quarter include Phillips 66 and National Oilwell Varco Inc.